Here’s why most airplanes are white

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Ever wondered why all airplanes are more or less white in colour? We find out

If you fly often, you might wonder why most planes are painted white, right? Go ahead and observe, if it isn’t obvious by now. It’s rare for you to see an aircraft whose base colour isn’t white. While you’ll see plenty of different designs, based on the airlines branding, for almost all the aircraft, if you strip all those brand colours a day, you’ll get a white base underneath.

Here are a couple of reasons why they’re that colour and it’s not just for fun either.


Indonesia AirAsia A320-200(PK-AXI) (4993583274)

The main reason the planes are painted white is to avoid the heat. As we know, white is the most effective colour for when it comes to reflecting sunlight, and when you’re a few thousand feet up in the air and near the sun, believe me, you’d want a lot of that heat reflected away. That way, the temperature inside the cabin isn’t too hot and wouldn’t fry the passengers inside. Aside from passenger comfort, the heat reflective properties of white is also useful for protecting some parts made of plastic from sunlight.


F-WWEZ (948) ATR.72-212A(500) FlyFireFly TLS 30AUG11 (6097869500)

White color is also bird-friendly. Weirdly enough, if the plane is white, is more likely that birds will notice it compared to the colours blue or light blue. As a result, there are fewer collisions between birds and the planes, which could sometimes be catastrophic. As for the other sort of two-legged species, human passengers and the airport crew, a white plane makes anything unnatural in the fuselage easily visible. So if there’s a crack in the wing or broken parts that are on the plane, it’ll be a lot easier for the plane and ground crew to notice them.

It’s cheap

9M-MRQ B777 MAS banking (7988411834)

Aside from the scientific and logical reasons why planes are white, there is also the economic reason. Painting a plane white is cheap when compared to other colours. White is the most standard and cheapest colour available on the market. The airlines certainly do not want to waste money to buy a strange colour paint if there is cheap white paint.

Also when other colours are usually exposed to sunlight, they eventually whiten so, having to repaint it white again is economically sound.


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